Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pennsylvania Goaltending Woes Continue

1) What other conclusion could one gain after watching M. A Fleury of the Penguins and the day before Ray Emory of the Flyers give their teams sub par net minding allowing their opponents to cruise to victory.  In the case of Fleury it was especially egregious.  He allowed the Blue Jackets to make a unexpected come back from a 3 goal deficit.  The game tying goal scored after Fleury wandered from his net in the final 30 seconds, allowing the Jackets an easy lay-up to tie it. Then topping it off with a horrendous OT game winner that was as routine as it comes.

2) At least Philadelphia has another viable option if Mason is indeed healthy (if he backed up he must be right?)  Where as the Penguins, unlike last spring have little choice but to return with the shaky 'Flower' because Tomas Vokoun is probably no where near in game shape after missing months with a blood clot. Last season you may recall Vokoun saved the Pens bacon in their opening round 7 game series win over the Islanders when Fleury (again) was letting in goals from everywhere.  All teams need solid goaltending if they are to survive the Stanley Cup playoffs.

3) In the case of the Penguins, despite their obvious advantage in the standings and on paper, the great equalizer is their weakness in goal.  If they had reliable, solid tending, the Jackets would be done.  However, Fleury has been anything but solid, and not inspiring his team with confidence in front of him.  Meanwhile across the state in Philly the annual goaltending issue has again reared its ugly head.  In the case here, the Rangers would appear to be the better team, and in order for Philly to have a chance they would have to get superior goaltending. Something they haven't had consistently in the playoffs since Hall of Famer Bernie Parent wore #1 for the Orange and Black.  They thought they had this issue settled with Mason, but injury prevented him from starting the first 3 games.  Can/will he return and be a difference maker, or will he and Emory be added to a LONG list of Flyer goalies who had good regular seasons and flops in the spring?    Problems in net in Pennsylvania, indeed!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

OOPs, He Did It Again.... redux

1)  For our regular readers the headline may sound familiar. Well, it is. Its the headline we wrote last year when we were reacting to Matt Cooke's latest dirty play. For those who may have missed it, here is a rehash of Cookes "accomplishments"  With the dirty kneeing against the Avalanche's Barre last night, the micro scope is yet again on the off (deservedly) maligned forward..

2)  With respects to Brittany Spear, its not the female singer/entertainer/strumpet we're alluding to, but our old friend Matt Cooke. Of course most are familiar with his "exploits".  During his NHL career Cooke has been suspended for several much-criticized hits, some involving head-shots that injured opposing players, most notably ending Marc Savard's career in 2010. Cooke was probably an important factor influencing NHL rule changes intended to deter such hideous conduct. 

3) To refresh memories here is a brief  "rap sheet" on 'Cookie'
  •  November 2008  he received a two game suspension for a check to the head of NY Ranger's Artem Anisimov.
  • 11/29/08 – Matt Cooke blind-sides Zach Parise into the bench. He chose to still hit him even though the bench door was open
  • In January 2009, he received another two game suspension for a hit to the head of Scott Walker.
  • 3/16/09 – Matt Cooke’s knee-on-knee hit on Zach Bogosian. Bogosian left the game in the 2nd period and did not return
  • 05/18/09 – Matt Cooke’s knee-on-knee hit on Erik Cole. In Game One of the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals, the Hurricanes lost Erik Cole midway through the third period.  Matt Cooke caught him knee-on-knee in front of the Pittsburgh net. Cole managed to play only one shift after the hit.
  • 02/06/10 – Matt Cooke cross-checks Andrei Markov in the back from behind.
  •  March 7, 2010, in a game against the Boston Bruins Cooke delivered a blow to the head of Boston's Marc Savard, causing a concussion and Savard to miss almost two months. ( No suspension given!)
  • 11/26/10 – Matt Cooke drives Erik Karlsson’s head into the boards. (Remember that name!)Cooke drives Karlsson’s head into the boards and knocks him out
  • 12/21/2010 – Matt Cooke elbows Coyotes defender, Keith Yandle in the head
  • 12/28/2010 – Matt Cooke elbows Evander Kane in the head. Here is what should happen to Cooke after he tries this shit!----->
  • 02/04/11 – Matt Cooke cheap-shots Buffalo's Steve Montador. In this incident, Cooke does a few gutless things. First, he cross-checks Jordan Leopold from behind after Leopold takes down one of his teammates. Next, after Steve Montador engages him, Cooke lands an overhand right punch to an unsuspecting Montador after the linesmen separate the two.
  • 02/06/2011 – Matt Cooke’s knee-on-knee hit on Alex Ovechkin. OV not injured, but pissed
  • February 9, 2011, Cooke was given a four-game suspension for a hit from behind on Blue Jackets' defenseman Fedor Tyutin
  • March 21,2011 Cooke was suspended for the final ten games of the Penguins regular season schedule as well as the first round of the playoffs stemming from an elbow to the head of New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh

    4)  Yes, after the last suspension it appeared that Cooke had indeed 'learned his lesson' and 'changed his ways', etc. However, we all know leopards don't change their spots.  The hit to Karlsson (seen here ) was no accidentas many would like to argue. Although we admit no one can know what was in Cooke's mind at the time, we feel the preponderance of evidence and past wrong doings show a clear pattern.  No F-ing way does a player lift his boot and on to the back heel of another on such plays.  An accident with 99.99% of other NHL players. Cooke has "earned" NOT getting the benefit of the doubt. And if he wasn't intending to injure Karlsson, then screw you for attempting/succeeding on injure so many others in your shit career!

    5) The amazing thing is, that since Cooke got away with injuring Karlsson last year over 18 months has passed since his last suspension, therefore under the CBA Cooke isn't a repeat offender. No, you didn't read that wrong. Cooke isn't considered a repeat offender. Holy shit. If Anyone deserved to be called a repeat offender its this piece of dung.  The discipline office should be renamed after Cooke.  Last night Matt Cooke's knee-on-knee hit will cost the Colorado Avalanche the services of key defenseman Tyson Barrie for this series and probably most of the playoffs.  Cooke deserves NO LESS than to be thrown out of the remainder of this years post season (and if its less than 10 more playoff games for the Wild, given 15 additional games to start 2014-2015).  Not a repeat offender, my ass! 

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

    Junk Calls?!?

    1) In a bizarre series of events early on in the NHL playoffs two individuals were fined for 'junk' manipulating. "Junk" is a euphemism for the male 'package' nuts and bolts, you get the picture?  First the above pictured Joel Quenville was fined $25,000 after the coach was enraged.   At the end of the second overtime, the Blues escaped what looked to be a clear delay of game penalty. Quennville responded by going ballistic with his mouth and exploring his nether regions with his hand — a dramatic 1-2 punch only a pro can make look cool. His heroics were wasted, though, as St. Louis went on to win in the third extra period.

    2) Meanwhile last night Boston Bruins Bruins forward Milan Lucic got away with a blatant spear to the groin area of Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser on Friday, but the NHL today reviewed the incident.  DeKeyser escaped injury on the play so Luicic got a mere slap on the wrist(better than a spear to the groin) and was fined $5,000.  So the message the NHL disciplinarians have sent the league is that its more egregious to grab your own junk than to spear an opponent's. Dicks

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    2014 Divisional Quarter Finals Predictions

    1) The most exciting time of year is upon us. The Stanley Cup Playoffs! The premiere tournament in ALL of team sports. We will go through each of the 8 opening round series. Predict the winner and the number of games it may take to achieve the results as well as discuss some of the factors that resulted in our prediction. 

    First The East

    1) Boston-VS- Detroit:  Amazingly the two teams last met in the 1957 Stanley Cup semifinals, with the Bruins winning 4-1. Here it is 2014 and most prognosticators/bettors have their money on the Bruins. And why not?  From top to bottom they have few if any clear weaknesses. Can roll 4 lines all capable of both scoring and preventing goals. Solid defense led by the ageless Z-Chara, and Vezina callibre goaltending in Rask. The Redwings on the other hand have an interesting mix of youth and vets (assuming Datsyuk is back) who will not be out worked.  With Babcock behind the bench they won't be outcoached either. All that said we don't think these Redwings will be able to withstand a much deeper team in Boston and despite the games being close, we expect the Bruins to win a short series.  Bruins in 5 

    2) Pittsburgh-VS Columbus:  The Blue Jackets' only 2nd ticket to the dance and the first since 2009. Columbus have been playing excellent hockey as of late, winning four of the past five to clinch a spot in the postseason. The primary reason why has been the amazing play of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who has carried his team down the stretch. Penguins have beaten Columbus in all five games they have played this year.  Columbus' only hope is if M.A. Fleury  is in 'playoff form'and 'Bob' can steal a game or two.  Else it'll be a short series. Penguins in 5 

    3) New York -VS- PhiladelphiaThe Rangers and Flyers have met 10 previous times in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the two teams last met in the 1997 Eastern Conference Final when it seemed they played in the playoffs every season. While the name of the division may be different, it's now known as the Metropolitan Division,the intense rivalry between the New York Rangers  and the Philadelphia Flyers is just as heated as always. While both New York and Philadelphia have outstanding offensive units that can make serious noise, the key in this first-round series will be the special teams and goaltending, which is why we like NY. Rangers in 6

    4) Tampa Bay-VS- MontrealThe Canadiens and Lightning have met once before in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Lightning were on their way to their one Cup back in 2004. Two evenly matched teams, outside of the Habs’ PK advantage and Tampa’s advantage 5-on-5. While some see the injury to Bishop as a large detriment we do not. Anders Linback played the last 2 weeks as the goalie the Bolts thought they traded for 2 years ago; large and imposing.  With the huge win at the end the Lightning copped home ice advantage which in our opinion will be the deciding factor here.  Lightning in 7

    Next The West

    1) Colorado-VS- MinnesotaThis is the third meeting between the Wild and Avalanche, with each team winning once. The hockey world waits to see what comes crashing back down to Earth first: The Wild’s goaltending or the entire Avalanche hockey club.  We believe that for the first round anyway, the Avalanche possess way too much overall talent to be denied. Although Bryzgalov will undoubtedly play large in goal and Parise/Suter will do their thing, they won't be quite enough and the Avs will advance.  Avalanche in 5

    2) St. Louis-VS- Chicago: This is the 11th meeting between the Blues and Blackhawks in the Playoffs, but first since 2002. The overarching storyline in these contests would be the health of Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Both will play Game 1, but will they be 100%? While St. Louis has been excellent throughout the season, the fact that Chicago will be getting its two stars back in time for the playoffs and has the Stanley Cup experience from last year under its belt, and the fact that the Blues looked quite ordinary the last couple of weeks of the season. We believe those factors are enough to tilt this series the Chcago's way.  Black Hawks in 6

    3) Anaheim-VS- Dallas:This is the third meeting between the Stars and Ducks, the teams splitting the first 2 meetings.  Can Bruce Boudreau avoid another playoff flop? Dallas did a great job to over take the Coyotes towards the end of the season saving their best hockey for last.  Will that translate into playoff success?  We believe at best it will give the Ducks a run for their money, but in the end Anaheim simply has too many weapons on offense, and regardless who plays net, top notch goalkeeping to be denied.  Ducks in 5

    4) San Jose -VS- Los AngelesThis is the third meeting between the Sharks and Kings, each team having spit the first two.  Like we alluded to in a recent post, with a plethora of good teams out West, at least one would be dispatched in the first round.  Which California team will be golfing shortly?  The former champs in LA had an uneven season. Once again unable to score consistently, but getting great defense/goaltending to win their share of games. The Sharks on the other hand have multiple scoring weapons and their not shy using them.  Their goalie, Niemi is no slouch in net either, having already hoisted a Cup (in Chicago) As is usually the case it will come down to special teams and we believe that the Kings being more experienced and better at playing close games will ultimately prevail, but NOT easily.  Kings in 7

    The Annual Award For Sucking!

    1) The NHL will conduct its Draft Lottery today, Tuesday, April 15th. The lottery will take place in-studio with NHL deputy-commissioner Bill Daly revealing the results live on-air. This will be the 7th time the draft lottery will been aired live on television since the 'Crosby Draft' of 2005, and for only the 8th time in 18 years. The 2014 Philadelphia, PA draft Lottery, live at 8pm The lottery will also be simulcast live on the, NHL Network,  The bottom 13 (non-playoff) teams in the NHL will be eligible for the lottery, where odds are weighted by least amount of regular season points.  (It is normally 14 but the Devils lost their pick due to their punishment in the Kovolchuk contract idiocy a few years back

     The Devils will still receive the 30th overall pick a lessening of the original penalty where they were to get NO pick at all. The Devils will still be included in the lottery drawing with the same odds that would have normally been assigned to the club. In the event the Devils win the lottery, a re-draw will be conducted to select a different recipient of the first overall selection in the first round. Like last year tonight's lottery will feature the format where EVERY non playoff team (other than NJ)  could potentially WIN the lottery and the top overall pick. Representatives from each of the 14 teams eligible to win the first overall pick will be in attendance: Here's the breakdown: The top-seeded Buffalo Sabres (25.0%) have the best chance of winning the lottery, followed by Florida Panthers (18.8%), Edmonton Oilers (14.2%), Calgary Flames (10.7%) and New York Islanders (8.1%). The Vancouver Canucks (6.2%), Toronto Maple Leafs (3.6%), and Winnipeg Jets (2.7%) complete the group of five Canadian teams with a chance to choose #1overall  Daly will reveal the results in reverse order, alongside representatives from the league's five teams most likely to win the lottery.  

    Monday, April 14, 2014

    Racism Alive and Well in Canada?

    1) While we dislike throwing the r-word-Racism around we have to at least entertain that it may be playing a role in what we are seeing with respect to 2 talented players (of color) playing in two different cities north of the border.  Also to be fair, blatant racism in hockey isn't confined to Canada.  Who can forget the myriad of racist tweets Joel Ward received after he and his Capitals team dispatched the Bruins a couple of seasons back, or Wayne Simmmonds  receiving racist chants while playing in the Czech Republic during  last year's the lock out.

    2) That said, we have been monitoring with increasing curiosity the fates of two very talented players who in our opinion are getting an unfair rap.  Both possess oodles of talent. One has already received a major award for best at his position.  Yet both are not looked upon by their local press favourably. The two players we're referring to are P.K. Subban in Montreal, and Evander Kane in Winnipeg.  In the case of the ladder, our interest was first aroused last year when Kane signed a lucrative extension. Afterwards he was spotted posing atop a hotel in Vegas sporting wads of currency.  Now if it were a Caucasian (non Euro) it would have been laughed off, or at least dismissed as boys being boys, etc. But in the Winnipeg press you would have thought that Evander was brandishing a weapon or doing coke in the photo.

    3) More recently Kane was actually a healthy scratch for the first time in his career as the trade rumors swirl around Winnipeg as if the kid is soly responsible for the franchises failures to make the postseason (again) Meanwhile in Habitant-land for Mr Subban  the relationship between he and coach Michel Therrien continues to erode just a little bit more each night. He has actually benched his star defender for more than 10 minutes with games on the line. We understand its argueable/understandable to hold Subban accountable for his mistakes, but Therrien seems to delight in picking on him while letting other culpable players off the hook. With Subban’s contract coming up this summer, there’s reason to think he might be looking for a way out rather than a home run.  

    4) It seems that with respect to both players negativity surrounds them regardless of how they are performing.  Subban despite his short comings is still the defending Norris trophy defender. No, he's not Larry Robinson, but he's not  exactly Rory Fitzpatrick either.  He deserves FAR more respect than he receives. Would he were he Caucasian?  Certainly if he were Francophone he would, but one has to believe that at least part of the reason he is being treated subparly is due to his skin color.  With respect to Kane, he acts no differennt than many young up and coming professional sports stars. A bit reckless, but nothing overly offensive.  However Kane, like Subban is many times being singled out.  The difference?  You make the call. Our  opinion is that racism is alive and well north of the border (like everywhere)

    Sunday, April 13, 2014

    Week 26 Results

    1) The day, week, month and season (almost) are in the books. At least we're done with respect to our weekly picks here at Fauxrumors.  First, for the day/night we went our usual strong self and finished well going 7-2 to bring the final season totals to 188-94, or an astounding .667 winning %.  We also were 'Locked' in getting that weekly choose correct to finalize that ridonculous total to 24-2, which translates to a .923 winning edge.

    2) This will be difficult to match next season, but of course we intend to try.  In the mean time the most exciting tournament in professional or collegiate sports is about to get underway; The Stanley Cup Playoffs.  We of course will post our first round picks before the puck drops Wednesday.  Look for it.
    As always, keep it here for all the latest!
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